MANILA - Streamlining and automating bureaucratic processes will solve red tape, the government body tasked to address the issue said Tuesday.
Anti-Red Tape Authority Director General Jeremiah Belgica made the remark during a Senate committee hearing on a proposed bill seeking to authorize the President to suspend requirements for national and local permits and to streamline and expedite the issuance process during times of national emergency.
"Ang solusyon po sa red tape (The solution to red tape) is streamlining and automation. We need to first peel off all of the unnecessary process and streamline the process before we automate, otherwise papasok po ang red tape sa (red tape will get into) automation," Belgica told senators.
ARTA should help agencies streamline its processes instead of "putting fear in their hearts" by filing cases, said Sen. Franklin Drilon, one of the authors of Senate Bill No. 1844.
"Sa akin ang ARTA dapat tumulong sa burokrasiya (For me, ARTA should help the bureaucracy). I'm not saying they should not have nay power to file any cases but it should be a last resort rather than as a first resort," Drilon said.
Belgica agreed and said ARTA has launched a program that aims for a "52 percent reduction of time, costs, requirements, or procedures within 52 weeks" this year in five key sectors.
These sectors are telecommunications, housing and construction, logistics, power and energy, and food and pharmacology, according to Belgica.
"This is a whole of government approach na streamlining natin. The ARTA’s power right now on streamlining is recommendatory in nature," he said.
"We do support the bill because it mandates the automation and streamlining of government agencies. Kung puwede po 'yun ang maitulak natin (If we can push for that) and we continue with the filing of cases, I do believe we will be able to finish this in time."
Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, also an author of the bill and of the ease of doing business law, meanwhile urged ARTA to remind the President of his disciplinary powers over elective and appointed officials.
"I think there’s a communications problem between the office (ARTA) and the Office of the President. Tell him his powers under the law, remind him of his powers as well," he said.
Belgica said his office has "already requested an urgent briefing" with the President.
Duterte had sought the help of lawmakers to draft measures that would address red tape and corruption and said he was willing to attend legislative inquiries to deliberate with them as his term nears its end.